This course is currently accepting registrations for our summer 2023 classes which will be held from May 26th through July 7th. We are accepting registrations through May 3rd!
bluelight academy's Consent, Gender, Power class is an opportunity for community educators, advocates, care providers, and people impacted by gender based violence to explore the roots of violence and frameworks of prevention and response. Through this multi-media course we dive into the history, power dynamics, and systems that perpetuate and uphold gender based violence as well as strategies and tools to practice consent, healing, and harm reduction.
Spring Up is a collective of Transformative Justice practitioners, liberatory educators, and care coaches. after over a decade of practicing consent and intervening in gender based violence in our communities and families we decided to create a platform and connection space for people to learn from one another and the tools that have supported us in our work. The Consent, Gender, Power course is the first curriculum we ever created and piloted in community. This curriculum began in the form of pop up community workshops in 2013, building into a 6 month fellowship in person with youth leaders in Miami Florida, and ultimately becoming this 6 week course with access for a year. Over the years we have adapted our curriculum based on community questions, feedback, and spaces of collaborative imagination. Through this 6-week course, you can now get access to the tools and frameworks we have come to rely on in our practice of consent including an in depth analysis of the roots and causes of gender based violence, as well as strategies to practice gender liberation, consent, and healing.
Practitioners who are addressing sexual and intimate partner violence through crisis response work, shelters, advocacy, peer education, healthcare, and the criminal legal system can take this course to skill up on values driven tools and analysis that can strengthen their practice.
Alumni Reflection: "I have developed a more expansive understanding of power; seeing power as a vehicle for change and necessary to assess and address in all relationships. I’ve come to see consent as a spectrum and applicable to all areas of life! I’ve learned that practicing consent can support me in living a more pleasureful (and more liberated) life for myself and to support that for others. I learned SO MUCH MORE, honestly! I think I will build a more consensual, connected/present, and pleasurable relationship with myself and with others. I am excited to share what I've learned with the young people I work with!!"
Pairs + Pods: Because we believe in dialogue based learning, self reflection, peer support, and integrating what you are learning into your life, we ask that everyone who participate do so with a buddy or group. Each individual within your group will register individually, however we will ask you to share who your buddy or group is with us during orientation before the course kicks off. If you do not have a buddy or group to sign up with, there will be space in an intake survey to indicate that you would like to be paired with another solo learner to support one another. Groups of six (6) or more signing up together get a facilitated opening and closing live session with Spring Up facilitators; if your group has 6 or more participants please email [email protected] letting us know your group size and which course you want to sign up for so we can coordinate. You can also request an invoice if your organization is paying for you as a group.
Orientation: When you register for the course you will see all of the next steps including letting us know who your buddy or group is, and a worksheet to plan out your term. The week before our course starts (May 20-26th) is welcome week. During this week we will share the calendars to sign up for coaching, answer to frequently asked questions about the platform and experience, and a safety and care plan to start mapping how you will care for yourself throughout the course term and beyond.
Platform Content + Discussion: Each Friday a new module of content will post for you to review over the following week, with the first module posting on Friday May 26th and the final module posting on June 2nd. An email will go out every Friday informing you of the updated content including an overview of the core ideas and resources, content warnings, and guidance on how to pick which resource to dive into based on time capacity and interest. Each week's content starts with an optional grounding exercise, then shares 1-2 core resources (usually a video and/or short essay), followed by a tool or practice alongside reflection and discussion questions you can bring back to your buddy or group. At the end of the content for each week there is a list of optional resources to dive deeper into the content including essays (with accompanying audio recordings of our team reading hem aloud), podcasts, webinars, and comic strips. Underneath each section of content there is space for participants and Spring Up coaches to engage with one another by sharing reflections, posing questions, and connecting with other students. Participants retain access to this content for a year.
- Week 1: Consent including how we define consent, where the concept comes from, how consent could restructure our social practices in all aspects of our lives (not just in intimacy), and a variety of tools to practice consent more effectively
- Week 2: Gender & Communication including the history and purpose of the gender binary, how gender shapes our world, socialization, and how we communicate
- Week 3: Nonbinary Praxis including defining nonbinary gender identity and life philosophy, how we can all learn from and incorporate nonbinary thinking and tools, and unpacking core binaries that shape anti-violence organizing like survivor/perpetrator or victim/survivor
- Week 4: Roots of Violence including defining gender based violence and its connections to race, class, ability, and sexuality, unpacking who experiences and perpetuates gender based violence and how systems and institutions contribute to the normalization of violence and coercion
- Week 5: Power, Control, and Money including how power shapes our relationships, how to identify patterns of control and abuse, and the role of money and labor in coercion
- Week 6: Healing & Justice including unlocking pleasure, how we can practice care, reduce harm and seek justice, as well as unpacking some of the challenges and pitfalls that we face in anti-violence movements and campaigns
- Once the 6 weeks are over, the next 6 months are your second opportunity to dig into this content as we share monthly prompts going through the modules on a slower cadence.
Live Spaces: In addition to the asynchronous discussion space under the content on the platform, we also offer two types of live facilitated spaces throughout the term. Mixers are spaces to connect with other participants and alumni, play games, and discuss your intentions and takeaways. There is no required prework for mixers since they include participants from all bluelight academy courses, and the final mixer of the term includes alumni from previous years and terms at bluelight academy. Mixers are held the week before courses begin, and the week after course content completes. Office Hours are course specific spaces to unpack and reflect on course content. Each course has office hours with Spring Up coaches during week 3 and week 6. Specific times and dates will be shared in May.
Coaching: Registration for this course includes a 1:1 coaching session with one of our coaches. Spring Up coaches provide coaching, peer support, and resource sharing to help clients meet their personal goals. Our collaborative approach to coaching is based in a non-hierarchical relationship that is solution focused — coaches recognize that clients are experts in their own lived experience. Coaching is strengths-based and culturally specific in that coaches help the client enhance their inherent strengths, skills, and resources accessible to them. Spring Up coaching has an expectation that the client is ready to engage in further learning and implementation of that learning outside of the session. Your included coaching session must be used by July 15th or it will expire.
Workbook: In addition to the weekly content posted on this platform, you can order a print Cultivate Consent Workbook in the mail. This workbook is a physical space to keep track of your ideas and engage with the core learning from the entire course.
Reflection: At the end of the 6 weeks you are invited to submit a reflection on your experience, this is totally optional. If you are open to sharing your reflection with other course participants, your reflection will be integrated into the course content. We invite all sorts of reflections but particularly love creative pieces including music, planting a seed, artwork, written or video affirmations and intentions.
Alumni Reflection: "I learned the value of moving through a process with a committed buddy, it's made me reconsider how I engage in learning and has challenged me to be in more active connection with loved ones around my practices rather than being private. I am also really moved by the idea that people are practicing consent everywhere -- I am seeing the people around me differently because of this. I am also in better conversation with myself about how my values are or are not showing up from this."
Pricing + Scholarships
This course is offered at a sliding scale between $200 and $400 per person. The actual cost is $300. We are not a nonprofit, we are a network of practitioners who do this work balanced with other commitments and grassroots support makes this work sustainable for us.
If you would need a scholarship to be able to participate please email [email protected] with the subject "scholarship" - scholarships are available upon request. Please propose what you would comfortably be able to pay in your scholarship request - no need to explain your circumstances. The minimum payment is $75 to cover materials and shipment, and a coaching session.
If international students incur unforeseen taxes or fees for participating, they can request reimbursement for those fees by also emailing [email protected], with the subject "reimbursement." Although our team is based in the United States, we welcome participants from around the world and have alumni from numerous countries.
Our virtual learning experience is designed to align with a diversity of learning styles. We offer readings as well as videos, somatic exercises, podcasts and journal prompts. There are spaces for reflection, for discussion and for connecting, be it through our buddy system, our virtual discussion board, or coaching. A worksheet to support in executive functioning and planning is shared during welcome week that details all of the options for engagement with spaces to map out your plan for what to do and on what timeframe, this worksheet can also be done in partnership with a Spring Up coach to get additional support in executive functioning.
In terms of platform content, videos are all captioned and can be listened to. For videos that we make, we read off any text that shows up in that video. All of the readings and articles on our platform have audio recordings of the text. Most of them are accessible to screen readers but some of them, like embedded pdf workbooks, might be less accessible. If you need a different version of a reading, email [email protected] or leave a comment requesting the information you need and we will do our best to meet that need.
All live spaces are on zoom and include closed captioning. Live spaces tend to be scheduled in US timezone evenings during the week. 1:1 Coaching is more flexible with times available on coaches calendars at various times and days of the week for you to select from.
If you would prefer to receive coaching in Spanish, email [email protected] requesting coaching for the CGP course in Spanish. At this time our content and resources are all in English - we are working on a translation of our workbooks to Spanish in 2023. You can request translation to other languages by emailing [email protected], with the subject "translation."
Spring Up is a collective of care workers, transformative justice practitioners, liberatory educators, and coaches practicing and teaching the liberatory arts here at bluelight academy. We cultivate a culture of consent and liberty for all through storytelling and popular education.
Curriculum Designers: The lead designers for this course are Spring Up co-founders and co-directors Stas (they/them) aka the imaginatrix, and Leander "Lea" (they/he) aka the mythematician. Stas is a nonbinary BlaQ Italian storyteller, and Leander is a transmasculine European American facilitator and lifelong learner. The two have given two TEDx talks: "Cultivating a Culture of Consent" and "The Millennial Mindset Can Save the World," are published in the critically acclaimed anthology "We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out," appeared in the documentary "The Hunting Ground" and on stage with Lady Gaga at the 2016 Oscars. They have presented on consent, gender, and justice at over 100 universities and schools nationwide including Brown University, Yale Law School, University of Michigan, University of California Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, Vassar College and many more.
A Message from Stas + Leander: We are a couple who have been in relationship, collaborating and healing together for the past 10 years. You will see us in videos, get to read essays we wrote on this topic, and get access to worksheets and tools that we developed in community over the past 10 years. This course particularly is a labor of love with curriculum that we have been working on since 2013 in workshops, trainings, and community accountability processes with folks around the US (and even some around the world!) This course is rooted in our formal and informal study and lived experience of race, gender, and structural/ historical systems of oppression as well as liberatory practices. You will also get access to some fiction we wrote as part of our book Millennial Sex Education, since we think it is critical that work analyzing sexual and gender based harm take a look at the intimate moments where these systems show up without overexposing individuals and exploiting their personal stories.
Coaches: Your coaches this term will be announced by April.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does this course relate to the 6 week Transformative Justice Course?
Research has shown that in order to address sexual and intimate partner violence through restorative and transformative justice, facilitators must be equally trained in restorative / transformative justice practices AND the intricacies of gender based violence (Center for Court Innovation).This course can pair with our Transformative Justice course to give you the toolkit you need to address this widespread and deeply personal type of violence.
How does this course relate to the Cultivate Consent Mini-Class?
The mini-class is intended as a “taste of Consent”, a window into this framework that we believe has the power to radically transform the ways we care for ourselves and each other. It is NOT a replacement for our more comprehensive 6 week Consent, Gender, Power course, but can be a good way to prepare for that course or identify if you want to go deeper. The Consent mini-class was put together with accessibility in mind and is the equivalent of about a half day training on Consent.